Law and Sociology: The Constitution and Confrontations of Disciplines

Roger Cotterrell

in Law's Community

Published in print February 1997 | ISBN: 9780198264903
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191682858 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Socio-Legal Studies

Law and Sociology: The Constitution and Confrontations of Disciplines

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  • Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law


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How should law as a discipline or intellectual field be viewed sociologically? Indeed, what does it mean to speak of intellectual disciplines, and how can disciplines confront each other? Law and sociology show similarities but also important contrasts in the way they are constituted as intellectual fields and in their strengths and weaknesses as such. Law's particular weaknesses have allowed sociological ideas to invade legal thought in certain contexts and conditions. But, perhaps ironically, the continuing importance of the sociological tradition as a source of enlightenment about law derives in very large measure from the intellectual consequences of sociology's own permanently insecure and ambiguous disciplinary status. It seems appropriate to locate the model of judicial decision-making at the centre of legal science, but only in so far as this decision-making is inseparably connected with the production or refinement of legal doctrine.

Keywords: law; sociology; intellectual disciplines; legal science; judicial decision-making; legal doctrine

Chapter.  12301 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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